From Greg Kaufmann:
As a native Washingtonian, and one of the city’s 600,000 current residents, for me this week is all about DC Voting Rights. We know that passing the bill that would finally give us a voting Representative in the House comes down to this: can we get 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a GOP filibuster? On Tuesday we’ll find out. Sen. Harry Reid will attempt to bring the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009 to a vote. Tell your Senators to support this bill which fell just three votes shy in the last session. One Democrat on the fence is freshman North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan. We need her constituents to tell her to get on the right side of history — end taxation without representation for DC citizens.
Another huge happening in the Senate on Tuesday afternoon — the confirmation vote on Rep. Hilda Solis as Secretary of Labor. She’s also going to need 60 votes to overcome the delaying, filibustering, fearful GOP which is terrified that she will support the Employee Free Choice Act.
The House will take up an omnibus appropriations package for FY09 this week. Bush and Congress couldn’t agree so they passed a continuing resolution to keep the government going — it expires in a couple of weeks.
The House also might vote on Rep. John Conyers bill to allow bankruptcy judges to modify home mortgages, including reducing the principal. Brace yourselves for the rhetoric on how this will drive interest rates sky high and further freeze the credit market. (Although the Conyers bill does have the support of Citigroup http://www.thenation.com/blogs/jstreet/395180/things_you_learn_in_washington?rel=sidebox.)
It’s long-term economic policy week for The White House: hosting a bipartisan “fiscal responsibility summit” on Monday; President Obama addresses Congress on these issues on Tuesday; and on Thursday he delivers a summary of his FY2010 budget which begins in October. (The full budget is revealed later this month.)
Congress will be pursuing some answers of its own about the nation’s long-term fiscal health. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will testify on Monetary Policy and the State of the Economy before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday and the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. But I’d say the can’t-miss hearing if you want to get a more uncensored view about what’s going on — same topic — is Thursday’s House Financial Services Committee hearing with James Galbraith and Joseph Stiglitz.
Rep. Barney Frank has some good ideas of his own about the budget, and on Tuesday he will host a Defense Spending Forum and Press Conference. Also expected to be there — Congressional Progressive Caucus co-Chairs, Reps. Lynn Woolsey and Raúl Grijalva; and Dr. Lawrence Korb, Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress and Senior Advisor to the Center for Defense Information.
One thing you probably won’t hear anything about is Rep. Grijalva’s resolution honoring Geronimo, recognizing the 100th Anniversary of his death, and calling for “a time of reflection and the commencement of a ‘Healing’ for all Apache people.” (Along those lines … here’s a Senate hearing you won’t hear anything about on Indian Youth Suicide. Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chairman Byron Dorgan helped secure $2.5 billion in the recovery package to benefit reservations, but this hearing will look at one of the effects at least partially attributable to decades of 50 percent unemployment and double-digit poverty rates.)
Other hearings worth checking out: the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger; the Latest Global Warming Science — with the Chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; paying for healthcare reform; Afghan/Pakistan Strategic Outlook; the future of missile defense testing with Philip Coyle; Improving Service and Volunteerism with Usher (yes, Usher) and Van Jones; and Rep. John Murtha chairs a hearing on Defense Outsourcing